Everyone understands the power of a hurricane or tornado and respects the danger and destructiveness of a wildfire but rain, or the lack there of, can also wreak havoc on people and things.
Texas is suffering the worst drought since the late 1800s. Ponds are dry, cattle are out of green grass and farmers and planting crops but seeing no results. The drought will cost farmers and the state about $3 billion in lost revenues and income. Other states in the Midwest, including Oklahoma and Kansas, are also suffering from a lack of rainfall. Here is Central Kansas, precipitation totals are at least 7 inches below annual norms. The winter wheat was able to hold on and produce a decent crop but the soybeans and corn, which will be harvested this fall, are already looking dry and burnt. Continuous 100-degree days and spans of entire weeks without rain hinder the development of the dryland crops and force producers to pump thousands of dollars into their irrigation systems.
On the other end of the water spectrum, North Dakota and parts of Missouri are wishing desperately for the rain to subside and water levels to fall. Farmland in those areas are covered in water and will also struggle to produce a crop this fall. Those states will also see financial implications from too much rain and will suffer from lost revenues and taxes.
Too much or too little rain and crops and incomes suffer. Rain is essential to the economic well-being of any agriculture state and when Mother Nature drifts from normal weather patterns, people suffer.
I’ve heard people ask why the U.S. couldn’t build a system to move unwanted water from states with too much to drought-stricken areas that would give anything for an inch of moisture. It sounds easy enough. We’ve developed ways to move cars, equipment, electricity and oil, why not excess water? But who would receive the unwanted water? And who would we put in charge to make those decisions? A water czar? How much do you charge for something no one really owns? And what if we can’t get it to every dry area? It’s a fantastic idea that would help so many people but it’s implementation is nearly impossible. Try as we might, we can’t control the rain and we can’t own the rain.
So until we can move excess water into our drought-stricken fields and ponds, we are forced to wait for rain. It may be a long, frustrating wait but it’s all we can do.